7 Best Pedals for Blues (2021 List)

If you're a guitar player looking for the best pedals to use while playing blues, then this post is for you. We'll go over 7 of the best pedals and what they do so that you can find one that fits your needs. These are all quality brands with good reputations, made by people who know what they're doing when it comes to making guitar gear.

#1 Pick: TS9 Tube Screamer

Pro:

  • Iconic pedal, proven over decades of use

Con:

  • Mid Hump

Why is this the Best Pedal for Blues?

The TS9 is as iconic as a guitar pedal gets.  It's a pedal that found its way on to the pedal board of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana, John Mayer, Gary Clark Jr, and Joe Bonamassa, so you know there has to be something special about it. 

The tube screamer is perfect for blues overdrive.  It can range all the way from just a touch of overdrive to add a little warmth, to being driven to the point of classic rock.  Somewhere in the middle is the perfect blues spot.  

One of the Iconic things about a Tube Screamer is that is disproportionately boosts the mids over the lows and highs.  This is a big point of contention for many guitarists because some people find it to be the worst thing ever, and some people like it.  It is all a preference thing, so give the TS9 a listen and decide for yourself.

All of this and more is why the TS9 is a must have guitar pedal and one of the best pedals for blues.

Mini Version

There is also a mini version of the Tube Screamer that costs a little less and takes up less space on a pedal board.  If you want your pedalboard to weigh a little less on your wallet, or you want to fit more pedals on it.  Then this is one of the best blues pedals for you.

Boss Blues Driver

Why is this the Best Pedal for Blues?

The Boss Blues Driver has been the main competitor of the Tube Screamer for decades.  They sound super similar.  The biggest difference between the two is that The Blues Driver doesn't boost the mids at all.  

One of the best things about these pedals is that they last through a lifetime of use.  Because of that you can often to on resale websites and find them for $50 or so, which is a nuts deal for this quality of pedal.  This is definitely the best pedal for blues that you can find for under $50 or $60.

It is overall just a great drive pedal, and this list would be incomplete without the addition of it. 

Fulltone OCD

Why is this the Best Pedal for Blues?

This pedal has a little bit of a heavier sound than the other pedals on this list.  This pedal can border on more of a distortion pedal rather than an overdrive, so if you are someone that really likes the heavier genres of music, but also wants to play the blues, this could be a great pedal for you.

With that said, this pedal would be ideal for someone that wants to play Stevie Ray Vaughan style blues.  This pedal helps create that super overdriven amp sound.

This pedal is great at sounding like an authentic overdriven amp.  If that is the sound you want, then this is the best pedal for blues for you.

Xotic EP Boost

Why is this the Best Pedal for Blues?

Boost pedals are becoming more and more popular within the blues realm.  This is mostly because of their convenience.  It is incredibly easy to just kick on a nice little clean boost to enhance you sound, and get you ready for solos.  

This pedal is not only a boost, but can also be used in an overdrive sense as well.  Once the one and only knob is turned about to about 12 O'Clock, this pedal begins create a tight overdrive sound.  This is great for blues because it boosts your signal enough to get the notes heard, but also it just adds a touch of grit to you sound.

Boost pedals in general are a must, but getting a high quality one like this right away will pay dividends for years and years to come.  This pedal is killer in a blues context, but also works amazing in almost every other musical context as well.

Electro Harmonix Canyon

Why is this the Best Pedal for Blues

The Canyon is a Looper/Delay/Reverb pedal that offers a ton of versatility and a ton of different tonal options.  In addition to the looper, it comes with 11 different types of delay and reverb.  These allow for you to alter your sound to an extreme extent.  

Some people really like to add some delay to their sound when playing the blues because it beefs up your sound a little bit.  Often times blues is played cleanly through a single coil guitar, and sometimes that signal can sound a little weak, so delay is a good way to make your sound a little more powerful.  

Overall, this is an amazingly versatile pedal that can be used super effectively in a blues context.  That makes this the best delay pedal for blues.

Ultraphonix Overdrive

This pedal was created with the intent of getting the iconic sound of a Dumble amp into a pedal.  Dumble amps are the most sought after amps in the entire world.  Used amps regularly go for over $100,000 at auctions.  

This pedal does a super good job of replicating that Incredible sound, but you won't need to sell your house to get it.  

Tommy Castro is one of the guitarists responsible for putting this pedal on the map.  He has been a big advocate for this pedal since he discovered it in 2015.  

FAQ:

What pedals do I need for blues?

The real answer is that you don't need any pedals for blues.  Often times you can get away with just using an amp and its built in overdrive.  However, if you elect to use pedals, something like an Ibanez Tube Screamer is a great place to start.

How do I get the blues tone on my guitar?

The blues tone for guitar is very simple.  Typically just a guitar plugged straight into an amp.  Maybe with a simple overdrive on top of the signal too.  The truth is that the tone of the blues is mostly in the fingers of the player.  B.B. King could make a cheap guitar and an amp sound 100 times bluesier than I could make a super expensive pro rig.

Is a Tube Screamer good for blues?

A Tube Screamer is a great option for blues guitar.  It has been used by tonnes of legends, like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy, and even more modern bluesmen such as Gary Clark Jr, John Mayer, and Joe Bonamassa.  

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